Estimating Your Bathroom Renovation Costs

By Mark Donovan

March 16, 2016 4 min read

To properly estimate the cost of a bathroom renovation, you must consider two main things: Who will do the work and how many big-ticket items you plan to replace. Below are some tips on estimating the cost of your desired bathroom remodel and how to get the look you want without breaking the bank.

*Average and Specialty Costs for Bathroom Renovations

Expect to pay anywhere from $7,000 to $15,000 to remodel an average-sized bathroom, depending on where you live. You'll pay closer to $7,000 in the South; in the Northeast or on the West Coast, you'll pay closer to $15,000. These estimates assume that you'll be doing a basic remodel. But the contractor and vendors you hire, as well as replacing or adding custom details, will impact the final cost. For example, increasing square footage, putting in a custom shower and modifying the rough plumbing and electric will increase your bottom line. Extensive high-end bathroom remodels can cost upward of $30,000.

*Picking the Project Manager

You'll need to either hire a general contractor or act as your own general contractor. The latter can be tough if you don't have previous experience remodeling and dealing with vendors. A general contractor oversees the project from beginning to end. He or she hires subcontractors, negotiates with vendors, manages deliveries and ensures product quality to deliver a spectacular end product. If you plan to hire a general contractor, make sure you check the person's references. Clarify whether you or your general contractor will buy the materials. General contractors typically receive steep discounts for materials, but they'll often mark up the price to sell to the homeowner. You may want to compare a general contractor's price point with what it would cost if you bought the materials.

*Leave Rough Plumbing and Electric Wiring Alone

It is best, from a cost perspective, to leave the rough plumbing and electric wiring alone -- unless there are mechanical issues. For example, relocating a toilet or bathtub will increase your costs significantly because these changes require additional labor.

*Buy New or Renew?

Reusing the same toilet, sink or vanity and keeping the appliance in the same location will save some serious money. Bathroom toilets vary in cost from $150 to $3,000. Again, relocating any of these appliances will increase labor costs.

*Bathroom Light Fixtures

A copious amount of light in a bathroom, whether natural or artificial, is important. You don't have to use one light; pick one light for your vanity space and another light for the shower, and install a dimmer switch. Splurge a little to reposition or rewire a fixture to get the look you want. Just be wary of costs building up quickly.

*Playing With Tile

Tile is beautiful, but it is pricey. A custom-tiled shower alone can cost thousands of dollars. As a compromise, consider installing a standard bathtub and only tiling from the tub to the ceiling. You'll get a bathroom refresh for less. Tiling a floor is also a relatively easy do-it-yourself project.

With careful thought and consideration, you can achieve a bathroom makeover that will make you and your wallet happy.

Mark J. Donovan's website is at

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